Monthly Archives: October 2009

DUTCH DESIGN WEEK

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It is the end of october and I decide to take a couple of days of. The studio is filled with clay and modelers, tools everywhere. With a final information feed and a clear conscience I hit the train to Eindhoven. "Block in that rocker, next week we will do the refinement".


Since the beginning of the last century Eindhoven has been known for its light bulbs. In our post industrial era, production was moved to Asia and Amsterdam seemed a better location to set up the head quarter tents. The industrial city in the south of the Netherlands was left behind with a heart of empty production facilities. Nowadays the hometown of Philips has more to offer than consumer electronics alone. Design is the buzz word in Philips Town. Year by year the so called Dutch Design Week seems to get more serious attention. Eindhoven as the "little Milano" among the design minded?


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Spread out over the center there are many locations to visit. Galleries, exhibitions, openings etc. Furniture and other objects on the roof of Volvos. For a few Euros these "design rides" will take you everywhere. Friends first. With Floris I visit the Design Academies graduation show, followed up by a good night out with a bunch of dutch Carfreax. Fruitful discussions about design, cars and the future of our blog. 


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The whole week I left my camera at home, capturing the status quo of design by eyes, not by pixel. Before I return to Germany a last visit is paid to Strijp. This is the part of Eindhoven where things are really moving. Creative minds are taking over the old industrial sites. One of the historic Philips buildings has been transformed into a design fair. Down to earth and with a smell of the industrial era different design offices present their work in a relaxed atmosphere.


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Rik, his son and i take our time to get inspired. Furniture, textiles, colors and materials. Desaturated palettes and a wide range of ceramic experiments. Foamed, sand blasted, burned, polished. 2010 will definitely be mango meets teddy bear! Four hours and two hundred pictures later I plunge into my seat as the train leaves the station. Enough food for the brain, enough design for a while. Finish that rocker tomorrow morning…ceramic finish, why not?


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Goodwood

Finally, My first Blog for Carfreax. 

Let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Steve Lewis, a Car designer working within the VW group since 1990. I've been around a bit, England, Germany, Spain, California and now I'm back in Germany again. 

I Love cars! designing them, driving them or photographing them, and now I have the chance to write about them as well.

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I have known Mattijs now for several years and it was through him I was introduced to the world of Carfreax and also the chance to meet some other members at Geneva this year. It was here we first talked about me joining the team and the concept of Carfreax International. 

Well, I am honored to say I have received an invitation and hopefully this is the beginning of bigger things to come! 

Goodwood Day 1

The sound of Revving engines, the smell of burnt rubber and the flash of shiny metal.I feel like I'm in Carfreax heaven, but no, this is Goodwood. This is the Festival of Speed.Held every year in the back garden of Lord March's little house in the country. Racecar enthusiasts flock from all around the world, driving on the limit is their Faith and Goodwood is their Cathedral.Together with a work colleague, Stephan, I've managed to escape home for a long indulgent weekend in the South of England as the guest of my friends at Audi U.K. It starts already at Gatwick Airport late on Thursday night where a brand new Red S4 will be our wheels for this weekend of car pornography.

The next morning we leave our hotel early, but as we get closer to Goodwood we hit traffic, but not just any traffic, Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, Bentley's, Maserati's and Porsche's all fight for attention, this is probably the most valuable traffic jam in the world, Stephan and I just don't know which way to look. The torture continues in the car park, this is just the starter! and we have to force ourselves towards the main course! We are not disappointed, it's even better. What Woodstock is for music, Goodwood is for cars.

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Starting in the race car paddock we soak up the atmosphere of the amazing amount of racing heritage on display, we jostle with other enthusiasts to get the best photo opportunities, stare in disbelief at the collection of Porsche 917's and almost wet our pants when one of them explodes into action in a fantastic symphony of revving.

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Audi is celebrating 100 years and it seems they have brought with them almost half of their museum to Goodwood. Auto-union's, Quattro rally cars, IMSA race cars and the Lemans R15 still covered in the oil and flies from it's hard race three weeks earlier.

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I've lost Stephan! but find him oddly chasing a Pikes-Peak Quattro down the pit lane with his telephone almost stuck up it's exhaust pipe! I catch up with him after he loses the Quattro in the crowd to hear him screaming into his phone " that's what your missing sucker, you've got to come next year, this is better than all those poncey motor shows put together" Stephan I have to explain is a Goodwood virgin, I've been here several times before, I can fully understand his enthusiasm and Goodwood never fails to amaze me either.

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We have an invite for lunch to the "Orangery" hospitality from Audi which is located in the surprisingly quiet private gardens of Lord March. We don't quite make it because scattered among the trees on the main lawn in front of the house are several dream concept cars from the 70's, cars that inspired us to be car designers. The Bertone Carabo, Navajo and an original Countach. Stephan looks like he's on his knees praying, but he's just taking photos of the cars from every angle, click, whir, click, whir, click, whir, the motor drive on his camera is almost smoking under the pressure. I myself have already shot over 200 photos and we haven't seen a third of what's on offer yet! Luckily I've brought a spare battery and remain calm, that's on the outside, but inside I still fear missing some cool cars.

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After spending a few more minutes stretching our necks to photograph the amazing Audi sculpture by Gerry Judah, finally we make it to Lunch. A time to refuel and review the photos we've taken. A swimming pool is on offer and Audi will provide us with a costume and robe if we want to take a dip, but were here to see the cars although the cool water is very tempting. Already drunk from the amount of precious metal we've seen, we add to the feeling downing a couple of Pimm's cocktails each (very British)

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We are off again, this time to the supercar paddock, where as the name says all the current supercars are on display. Bugatti's, Zonda's, Ferrari's and Lambo's. We arrive in time to hear all the cars start their engines together in a glorious chorus ready for the run up the 1.16 mile hill climb. But their party is gatecrashed by an intruder, over head the new Euro-fighter sweeps into view and everybody just stands still, mouths open in amazement. The aircraft skillfully flown dives down at an alarming rate, but accelerates up and away even faster, Stephan and me are truly impressed and compare it to something out of Star Wars, it was impossible to photograph.

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Next on the list an all to brief visit to the 'Cartier Style et Luxe' Goodwood's version of a Concours d'Elegance to drool over various Bugatti's and a fabulously extravagant Hispano-Suiza. Lastly, we manage to blag our way into the Bohnam's auction (you usually need to buy a catalogue) a huge hot tent bursting at the seams with exotic machinery for sale. 

The first day is almost at an end and as we wander back to the car park our feet in tatters, our backs and legs aching from all the bending we are already planning tomorrow, we stop to take a few more gentler photos of the cars as their owners put them to bed, tucking them in for the night under their soft car covers as the sun goes down.

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Goodwood Day 2 


We arrive early, watch the 917's being unwrapped for another 50'000 people, click off even more photos, it's our favorite car, why not? You can never get bored with a 917.

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Porsche Too a

Today we want to see the Rally cars in action, it's a long trek, but we've heard it's worth it. In all the years I've been coming here, I've never ventured to the rally stage. There's a shuttle service if you want, but we decide to walk. As we get closer to the forest we can hear the rally cars, our pace quickens, we can now see the dust clouds trailing through the trees and then it explodes into a clearing, a Lancia Beta in Martini colors. I just have time to snap it as it shoots by. Wow! what next? oh no! a Stratos, click, click, shit! "did you get it?" Yes, yeess, oh yes! Then we hear the unmistakable sound of a 5 cylinder Turbo, an uneven deep growl, interspersed with the screech of a turbo waste gate. The king of rallying  the mighty Quattro slides into view and exits the corner throwing a fog of dust over us. We look like snow men, but we are laughing in-between our coughing and spluttering at what we have just experienced. After dusting ourselves off we continue trekking through the forest snapping the occasional rally car flashing between the trees, but mainly a load of dust.

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Just like an Oasis, the rally car paddock is bathed in bright sunlight and overflowing with famous rally cars. Quattro's of course, Lancia Delta's, Peugeot's, Ford's, Classic Mini's but in-between there's the rarely seen Renault Alpine or Lancia Fulvia, even a Paris-Dakar spec. Porsche 911.

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As we wander back down the hill we stop occasionally to look at the famous cars racing by, meet Stig's fat cousin for the umpteenth time and listen to the marshal's boasting about past events and all the time the Land Rover Bowler is performing huge leaps in the fields behind us, eager for our attention like some frisky puppy. 

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We arrive at the start line, satisfied, our camera batteries dead. We enjoy a well earned hamburger while watching several F1 cars launch themselves into the distance. We are mentally and physically worn out, but we've had a hell of a time. We pull ourselves together one more time to search the stalls for model cars, books, magazines and T-shirts.

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Goodwood is an amazing experience, it's been described as the "garden party of the Gods" In July Goodwood is the centre of the universe for car enthusiasts, the summer mecca for car lovers and owners of beautiful cars. Where else in the world would you get to see so many cars spanning so many decades, but not just cars, throughout the weekend we spotted so many famous drivers, Walter Rohrl, Stig Blomqvist, Jenson Button, Stirling Moss, Andy McNish and Mr Bean! 

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Over 160,000 people experienced the Festival of Speed over the course of 3 days.

All enthusiasts, petrol-heads and car-nuts, but above all Carfreax!

UN-WHEEL!

This one goes out to all the bike designers among our community. Danny MacAskill skillfully displays what your contraptions have to deal with in "wheel life". Unreal imagery combined with a lovely soundtrack, poetry in motion. What a fantastic mix of control, style and guts! Goose skinned I have been watching, glued to my screen!

 

And yes, this little flick perfectly fits to our new "over the fence" category

 

THANKS!

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De cirkel is rond, het boek kan gesloten worden. Mijn laatste post op Carfreax California. Een blog dat me veel energie en tijd kostte. Het was het waard! Steeds met snelle passen de realiteit achterna met camera en innerlijk notitieblok. Nooit te pakken te krijgen, altijd nieuwe indrukken biedende. 


De hongerige volgers in Nederland van voedsel uit de California Kitchen voorzien. Een motivatie om door te gaan met verhalen, beelden. De harde kern van lezers en reageerders. Het was fantastisch om de tijd op deze manier te delen. Bedankt! Bedankt ook voor het geduld als het weer eens een tijd rustiger was op het blog terwijl uw reporter druk in de weer was. Tussendoor moest, men zou het bijna vergeten, ook nog gewerkt worden.


Is het verhaal helemaal compleet? Nee. Traffic jam in de blogosphere. Veel verhalen hebben het hier niet gehaald uit tijdsnood. Baseball in San Diego, de dorre vlaktes van Hansa Burego, de bungalows van Palm Springs, het schitterende Yoshua Tree Park, flash floods in de Mojave, neon overkill in Vegas, de romige rotspartijen van Zion, het licht in Antelope Canyon Slot , het grillige Bryce, het indrukwekkende Death Valley, de stilte van Mono Lake, groots en groen Yosemite, kleurrijk San Francisco, de afgronden rond Big Sur, boeren in Salinas, verwaaide bomen bij Monterey en een 24 hours trip around Los Angeles.


Achtien maanden in de States. Een stukje thuis aan de andere kant van de wereld. Het was een schitterende belevenis  met al zijn facetten. Mooi om nog eens terug te bladeren. Het blijft genieten.

Eindelijk kan nu, na het online gebeuren, het boek vorm aan nemen. 

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LAMBO MANIA

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Als designer zit je vaak dicht bij het vuur. Het is dan oppassen dat je je vingers niet verbrand aan gevoelige informatie. Hoe graag je de nieuwste  ontwikkelingen ook met de buitenwacht zou willen delen, geheimhouding staat zeer hoog in het vaandel, al zijn de geruchten die uitwaaien over het world wide web nog zo sterk. Vandaar dat dit bericht inmiddels al erg gedateerd mag zijn. Een week in California anno 2007gaf een mooie kijk achter de schermen van een sportwagenbouwer uit S'anta Gata en het leven van the rich and famous dat onverbindelijk met dit merk verbonden is.


Vanaf maandag middag is de bovenste verdieping van het DCC een no-go-area. Al snel doet het verhaal de ronde dat the Italians in town zijn. Strakke pakken lopen druk gebarend heen en weer. Terwijl in Nederland de perskaarten voor Parijs op de mat vallen wordt hier met man en macht gewerkt aan een grote sales actie.


Voor de deur van de studio is het een komen en gaan. Mensen in foute kleding stappen uit veel te dure Rollses and Bentleys, privejets landen achter het complex om na een uur weer te vertrekken. The pictures unfolds. In de kleine lounge met uitzicht op Santa Monica wordt champagne geserveerd. Op een tafel dekt men met veel zorg  een quarterscale model af. De financieel onafhankelijke gasten worden breed lachend ontvangen en krijgen een sneak peak te zien van wat een paar weken later in full scale in Parijs zal staan.


Toevallig beland ik in de lift naar beneden midden in een gesprek van twee potenciele klanten. Zij in een te kort tijgervel, te goud, te bruiin en te blond, hij in te fout leren jack. "What do you think darling?" "A bit to cheesy for me  I guess".


Een paar dagen later is de sfeer ontspannen en kunnen ook wij een blik onde het doek wagen. Scherpe kanten en vouwen, een grijze stealth sculpture op wielen. Men hoort dat tijdens deze super summer sales binnen een week 30 Reventons aan de man gebracht zijn. Aanbetaling binnen 48 uur. De Italianen genieten van het succes.


Op vrijdag staat na terugkomst van onze lunch een Gallardo nonchalant voor de deur geparkeerd. Prestige anno nu. Echt opvallen doe je in America niet in een Lamborghini, de quote per inwoner ligt hier eenvoudig weg te hoog. Dit exemplaar wordt echter omzwermd van mobieltjes. De lijn van de BMW Art Cars is hier tot in het extreme doorgetrokken. Meneer Winkelmann, de Duitse "Italiaan" komt een praatje maken met de eigenaar. Deze blijkt een 26 jarige dealer uit Florida te zijn, kan het nog gekker?


Bij nadere beschouwing blijken de strakke graphics met behulp van een folie aangebracht te zijn. Toch een kleine domper tijdens deze indrukwekkende week.